Monthly Archives: May 2006

Protecting Children

Well, I just finished tapingthe first episode of The Zigory Show, my internet radio program (podcast). It was an emotional experience, and a rewarding one. I thank Prodos so much for giving me and others the opportunity to take a crack at broadcasting.

The program should be available in a day or two at http://zigory.solidvox.com/and Ihighly recommend it. It’s an intense conversation. The subject matter is of interest to all sorts of people, even if they aren’t knowledgeableaboutCapitalism or Ayn Rand,so if you find it compelling please email all your friends to give it a listen. Here’s my official capsule summary of the podcast:

Protecting Children

On this episode of The Zigory Show, Greg Zeigerson interviews Kip Liles, a former foster parent to over 200 children. She became anactivist inthe cause of protecting children from harm after one of her foster children was returned to the custody of his mother and stepfather only to be murdered by them.

We explore the role of the police force, the courts, current laws and statutes, and foster parents, in protecting children or failing to do so.Whydo some courts makejudgments thatare not in the best interests of the child? Why are so many abused children returned toharm’s way? For background on the discussion, see the column, “The Death of Bradley McGee” by Michelle Malkin, available here: http://michellemalkin.com/archives/000858.htm

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I Have A Guest

Well, I have a guest lined up for my first internet radio broadcast (podcast). Wewill be recording it in the coming week. The topic will be protecting children from harm: the role of the police force, the courts, the laws, and foster parents. What laws and judgments are in the best interests of the child? Why are so many abused children returned to harm’s way? I will keep you all posted on when the program is available for downloading from http://zigory.solidvox.com and I will name the guest at that time.

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Ray Bradbury’s America

I have to share this moving poem by Ray Bradbury with you. It’sentitled America: An Ode to Immigrants from the May 17 Wall Street Journal.

The final lines are:

Ten thousand wanderers a week
Engulf your shore,
You wonder what their shouting’s for,
And why so glad?

Run warm those souls: America is bad?
Sit down, stare in their faces, see!
You be the hoped-for thing a hopeless world would be.
In tides of immigrants that this year flow
You still remain the beckoning hearth they’d know.
In midnight beds with blueprint, plan and scheme
You are the dream that other people dream.

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My First Podcast

My first Podcast should be coming up in a couple of weeks. It will be available at http://Zigory.SolidVox.comat that time.You will be able to listen online or download the mp3 file to your Ipod or similar device. The identity of my first guest shall remain a secret to all but Prodos (my Production Assistant, Producer, Impresario, Studio Chief), until the program becomes available.

Meanwhile, listen to Stuart Goldsmith’s interview with Andrew Bernstein on the morality of capitalism, available now at http://StuartGoldsmith.SolidVox.com

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Music: Schlegel, and Genesis Reintepreted

Disclaimer: The following is about my personal musical taste,which may not be thesame as yours!

Ayn Rand enthusiastChristopher Schlegel wrote a symphony based onObjectivist virtues, called Symphony No. 3, “The Virtues of Man”. http://cdbaby.com/cd/schlegel

On his original recording,he had played it on a limited-range synthesizer and it sounded a bit dated, like Larry Fast’s Synergy records of the 1970s. The instrument’s limitationsdiffused the emotions and beauty in the composition.

Now he has re-recorded the piece with better instrumentation, although still including a synthesizer. It is far more listenable and enjoyable and I recommend the new version. It has the optimism and joie-de-vivre of (since I was just there, I’ll use this example:) the music in Walt Disney World’s Epcot attractions such as Illuminations.

I’m not sure which version CDBaby is selling, the 1997 original or the improved 2006 recording.

Now on to the topic of Genesis:

Ihave long foundmany of the musical compositions by the rock group Genesis, especially in the 1970s, to be inspired, passionateand interesting melodically (and often lyrically — some of the early songs are inspired by the Greek myths, for example). However, some of the songs are a bit too noisy for everyday listening, and some of Peter Gabriel’s singing (before he left the band)isn’t so pleasant (For example, his croaking “Why?” on the otherwise grand if pessimistic song “Time Table” from the “Foxtrot” album makes it hard to listen to it).

Well, in recent years, classically-trained musicians have transcribed the original songs to piano and classical instruments, and some of the original Genesis members have composed and recorded new, melodic music with classical instrumentation. These have been mostly outstanding. The best of the new interpretationsreally capture,illuminate and even enhancethe values of the original compositions that might be lost in the noise of the rock band,and I truly enjoy them as an alternative to the rock recordings.

I especially recommend “David Myers Plays Genesis.”MyersCD

Myers was the keyboard player for theworld-class Canadian Genesis tribute band, The Musical Box, and he transcribed some of the best songs, including “Time Table,” “One For The Vine” and “Firth of Fifth,” to piano with sensitivity and intelligence.

Almost asgood is “Genesis for Two Grand Pianos” by two Norwegian pianists, Guddal and Matte. GuddalCD

They have also released a second volume which I haven’t heard. And there is also astring quartet with piano led by Steve Oakman who recorded a CD called”A Classic Rock Tribute to Genesis” which Ihaven’t heard. So apparently this classical Genesis thing is a cottage industry!

Meanwhile, Steve Hackett’s “Midsummer Night’s Dream” and Tony Banks’ “Seven” are new classical compositionsby original Genesis songwriters. The Hackett piece is pleasant background music, played with virtuosity, but not quite inspired. I enjoy Tony Banks’ “Seven” which sounds like John Williams style movie scores.

Steve Hackett has alsocomposed a second classical-style piece, “Metamorpheus,” which I haven’t heard. Hackett CD

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Good Essay on Immigration

Here is Dr. Harry Binswanger’s excellent summary of the immigration issue. I agree with him, with one fairly trivialexception. I think there isvalue in living in less-densely-populated areas than New York City, at least for some people,but I don’t thinksuch placeswould disappear any time soon. Anyone who has the will and themoney could buy enough land to create a low-density population “gated community” anyway.

http://www.capmag.com/article.asp?ID=4620

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My Amazon Reviews

In case anyone is interested, here are my random reviews of books, movies and CDs on Amazon.com.Some of my ratings are inflated because I am enthusiastic when I start to write a review and then realize that 4 or 5 stars is too high a rating, but Amazon doesn’t allow me to revise down the number of stars.

Reviews

Here is a list of my favorite movies, also on Amazon.com. It’s just a list of some of my favorites and as a part time/former cartoonist, it’s animation-heavy.

MovieList

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More on Immigrants

Remember, Republicans were not anti-immigrant during the Elian Gonzalez episode. They championed the family who wanted to keep Elian in America. But Democrats, who tend to be in favor of immigration, reversed themselves and were so intent on returning Elian to Cuba they sent a SWAT team after the six-year-old boy.

Now the parties have reversed positions again regarding those crossing the American border.

Why is this? Because the two parties are pragmatist parties. They don’t follow essential principles, just whatever will achieve the political goal of the moment.

Although today Ann Coulter is unfortunately siding with the anti-immigrant Republicans, her analysis of the Elian Gonzalez story in her book, “How to Talk to a Liberal,” is sharp as a razor.

First the Clinton administration said, the Courts will decide. Then the Courts decided Elian should stay in America. So the Clinton administration said, the Courts have no jurisdiction, we must follow the law. But “the law” meant whatever Janet Reno’s whim happened to be. She decided to send people with machine guns to capture the boy and send him back to the dictatorship in Cuba. Why? Because the Democrats love Castro. Democrats still think Communism is a noble idea.

The Democrats suddenly discovered “family values” for the first time, as a reason to send Elian back to his birth father. But Elian’s birth father was not married to Elian’s mother when Elian was conceived nor when he was born, nor after that time (only long before). No law gives custody rights to the father of an illegitimate child. So “the law” is not what the Clinton administration followed at all.

What really drove the Democrats to favor Elian’s return to Cuba was their political love of Castro and wish to pretend a Communist dictatorship is a nice place for a boy — perhaps as a step towards their effort to end the US sanctions against trade and tourism activity with Cuba. And what really drives the Republicans’ current wish to send other immigrants back to Mexico, is their fear of immigrants becoming citizens and voting for Democrats. It’s all pragmatism over principle.

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Republicans: Hopeless?

Before I start: Anyone visiting my blog, don’t forget to see my links at the bottom of the page such as favorite web sites and my biography. And if anyone (Prodos?) can tell me how to break up my page so it’s a few short pages instead of one lengthy page, let me know. I’m over 40 and I’m often less knowledgeable about (and less patient with) computer stuff than my younger friends who grew up with computers in the classroom.

On to the topic: Republicans seem hopeless. What the heck are all the Republicans doing being anti-immigrants (or anti-illegal immigrants if you prefer). Have they lost their minds? Whatever happened to the Melting Pot?

The Native Americans were less anti-immigrant than a lot of Republicans seem to be today. Where would most of you be if your ancestors were deported by a (fictional, hypothetical) advanced Native American nation in the 15th through 17th centuries because you didn’t have the proper papers?

Originally I understood as reasonable a desire to protect our borders from terrorists and other enemies of the United States. But that issue is not what all the talk radio guys and gals, and Lou Dobbs, are talking about. They are talking about Mexicans, for heaven’s sake. Even if they aren’t racists, I sure wouldn’t blame anyone for thinking they are!

Remember the 2000 GOP National Convention? How they made it look like the Republican Party has only Black and Hispanic people in it? As silly as it was, I approved the idea that the GOP needs to welcome those demographic groups that historically vote predominantly for Democrats, and explain to those groups why Republicans believe that their principles and policies are just, and in the interests of all individuals, not just a few.

Apparently President Bush does continue to hold this belief, but his fellow Republicans are turning hostile as a result. It makes no sense. All immigrants (except terrorists/enemies/felons) should be considered legal immigrants. Rooting out the terrorist cells and crooks is the job of the CIA and FBI and NSA. If you are afraid of immigrants taking all the welfare money and getting all the freebies, stop giving out the welfare money and freebies. If anything, the large number of immigrants will create a good reason to terminate the welfare-state programs. (Ah, but then there’s the overwhelming fear of violating our sacred moral code Altruism!)

Ayn Rand wrote, “Don’t bother to examine a folly. Ask yourself only what it accomplishes.” (This is written from memory but I think it’s an accurate quote). Rush Limbaugh revealed what the Republicans are afraid of when he said that the pro-immigrant position of the Democrats is really just a way to increase the number of voters in the Democratic Party. Aha! Republicans are afraid all those Mexicans and South Americans will vote for Democrats.

Obviously, they needn’t worry about all the immigrants voting for Democrats if they explained why they should vote for Republicans — the party that is supposed to respect and protect the right of every individual to pursue his own happiness freely, the party that is supposed to cut taxes and spending and regulation and therefore allow new jobs and new businesses to be created, allowing a life of total freedom and productivity and even luxury to those who pursue it — and if the Republicans proved it by following through with action and not wimpiness. But today under the GOP we are witnessing the growth of spending and regulations, the literal imprisoning of CEOs, and only minimalistic tax cuts.

My solution? Speak up and educate the Republicans of their folly. Then, get Rudy Giuliani into the White House. He may fix the whole party.

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We’re Back!

Our vacation in Florida was a success. It improved as the week progressed, because we slowly learned the best ways to take three year old twins to Disney World. It’s totally different from the adult vacation experience. Basically, we learned that if they don’t get a nap (our kids can’t nap in a park, only in their beds or the car), at least we need to end the day and leave the parks after 6 to 8 hours maximum (something we didn’t do the first three days).

Also, we knew that we needed to avoid frightening attractions, but we didn’t expect “Mickey’s Philharmagic” to be frightening. None of the travel guide books warned us, but to our daughter the 3-D movie was too real and had scares (really just “Boo”-type surprises) in it that made her jittery about all other attractions thereafter. “I’m under the water with Ariel!” she shouted in horror, but she wouldn’t close her eyes or turn away. Our son thought it was funny and enjoyed it throughout. Eventually she learned to trust us (usually) when we said an attraction isn’t going to be scary. We did know to avoid the frightening-to-toddlers 3-D films “Honey I Shrunk The Audience” and “It’s Tough To Be A Bug” and we even decided to play it safe and avoided the relatively benign Muppets 3-D movie. We also took a day off to just relax after every two days at the parks.

The children especially enjoyed meeting characters and seeing the parades and they experienced plenty of both. The “Chef Mickey’s” breakfast and “Cinderella’s Royal Table” lunch were especially fun for all of us.

By trading off, my wife and I were able to ride the exhilerating “Soarin'” which was new to us (simulating flying over California scenery).

“Turtle Talk With Crush” was truly amazing, an interactive animated character that answers questions and reacts to the audience; it’s apparently instant animation, and of the highest quality. The humorous characterization was true to the movie “Finding Nemo”. The underwater effects were also instant and perfect. This is very high level technology and artistry! It suggests a future of “Live” animated theater or television — like a sequel to “Finding Nemo” could be presented as an animated yet live performance nightly, always spontaneous and different! Naturally the lines were long to enter this show.

The week started out with the parks being far hotter and more crowded than we expected for this time of year but became more comfortable and less populated later in the week.

Reviewing “American Adventure,” it cannot be called anti-American (and I only suggested in my earlier blog that it is “almost” that). It is still a patriotic presentation. But it’s the history of America as told by a mainstream historian of today; i.e., a left-leaning historian. It’s the CBS or ABC News version of history. The events they chose to present were primarily those the Left considers important, with a few bones thrown to the pro-capitalism Right and the patriots. It opens and closes with Benjamin Franklin praising the words of John (“Grapes of Wrath”/pro-socialism) Steinbeck. The only Presidents whose words are heard from their own lips (or an animatronic version of same) are liberal ones (Republican Theodore Roosevelt, Democrats FDR and JFK). You have to search for any Republicans not named Lincoln or Roosevelt. They did include a brief moment of Republican anti-Communist Walt Disney’s face — but then this attraction is located in his “World”.

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